We are working on a major local enhancement programme in terms of:
support to local socio-economic development.
The project was launched in 2014, with the signature of the Protocol for a new development plan and the relaunch of economic and industrial activities by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Sicily Region, the Municipality of Gela, the Trade Unions, Confindustria Centro Sicilia and Eni, along with its subsidiaries working in the area (EniMed, Gela Refinery, Eni Rewind and Versalis). Attention focused above all on Europe’s most innovative biorefining plant, along with the following initiatives launched with a view to the circular economy and local redevelopment, making Gela an authentic example of excellence.
Eni Mediterranea Idrocarburi (EniMed) manages hydrocarbon production and treatment in Sicily. The Gela Management Centre oversees the operation of 4 Oil Centres, 3 offshore platforms and 3 gas plants across the territory. In line with Eni’s enhancement strategy for natural gas as a low-emission energy source, the Protocol of Understanding 2014 led the way for the energy transition programme, launching the development project for the Argo and Cassiopea gas fields including the implementation, in 2023, of 4 underwater wells for natural gas exploitation. The enhancement as a low-emission energy source is in fact in line with our aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
The gas extracted from the 4 wells will be sent through an underwater pipeline to a new onshore treatment and compression plant at the Gela biorefinery and, after treatment, will be sent into the national distribution network. The project entered its executive stage in July 2022 and will be completed at the start of 2024. It will involve investments for over 800 Millions of Euro; these will enhance the territory and the local economy, especially stimulating employment in allied industries and attracting further investments. Argo and Cassiopea will also enable injection into the national network of gas produced from national fields with no environmental impacts.
The project to convert the Gela refinery to a biorefinery was born in 2014 with the closure of the industrial facility and the launch of the reconversion process. It is designed to process second-generation raw materials, (referred to as "unconventional” raw materials), with up to 100% processing capacity (equal to 736 thousand tonnes/year), and is one of the few biorefineries in the world with high operating flexibility. The activities began in 2019, and in 2020 the site reached full operating capacity. In 2021, biofuel production (HVO) was at approximately 585 thousand tons according to the certifications in use (European RED Directives and related) and bio-feedstock processed volumes were at 665 thousand tons.The use of castor oil in the plant, obtained from an experimental project to cultivate the plants in the semi-desert in Tunisia, led to the total elimination of palm oil in2022. In October 2022, Eni stopped the procurement of palm oil used in the biorefinery, ahead of the previous forecasts and the laws in force.
The new Biomass Treatment Unit (BTU), launched in March 2021, will allow the Eni Biorefinery in Gela to use only biomasses that are not in competition with the food supply chain, from spent food oils to fats from the processing of meat produced in Sicily, aiming to create a zero-kilometre circular economy model for the production of biodiesel, bio-naphtha, bio-LPG and bio-jet. The project has contributed to local employment with 1.3 million hours worked, and also achieved the “zero accidents” target for both Eni people and contractor workers.
The first load of vegetable oil produced by Eni at the Makueni agri-hub arrived at the Gela biorefinery in 2022. The plant in Kenya, pressing castor, croton and cotton seeds was inaugurated in July 2022. These are agri-feedstocks not competing with the food supply chain, cultivated in degraded areas, harvested from spontaneous trees or resulting from agricultural by-product valorisation, which offer income opportunities and market access to thousands of farmers. The country's agri-feedstocks, where production reached 2,500 tons of oil by the end of 2022 and will reach 20,000 tons in 2023, will combine with the collection of waste and residues, including used vegetable oils, collected in Kenya: the first of these consignments will soon be arriving in Italy and are expected arrival and to reach up to 5,000 tons in 2023.
The development of our biofuels is one of the drivers of the energy transition process based on the circular economy, leveraging our two distinctive assets at the biorefineries in Gela and Venice, thanks to their cutting-edge proprietary technologies and consistent product and process improvements. Since 2022, SAF (sustainable aviation fuels) has been obtained from the production of a special bio naphtha in Gela, and is then transported to Livorno where it is fractioned to obtain both Biojet and a light bio naphtha, which in turn is processed in conventional plants. In 2023, 9000 tonnes of SAF will be produced, while from the second half of 2024 our Italian bio-refineries will be able to produce Biojet and, from 2025, the production target will reach 200,000 tonnes a year.
To build the Ecofining™ plant, we modified the two existing desulphurisation units and built the Steam Reforming unit to produce hydrogen, which is a fundamental component in the HVO (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil) production process. This is the biodiesel which, when added to fossil fuel at a rate of 15%, makes up the premium Enidiesel fuel. This proprietary technology enables the processing of waste raw materials from plants and non-edible oils to produce biofuels of which Eni Sustainable Mobility is the second producer in Europe. In particular, since February 2023, HVOlution, the first Eni Sustainable Mobility diesel produced with 100% renewable raw materials (pursuant to the Directive (EU) 2018/2001 “REDII”) will be distributed in100 Eni service stations in Italy.
From 2019 to 2022, field testing of Eni's proprietary Waste to Fuel technology, used to transform organic waste into bio-oil and bio-methane with water recovery, was carried out at the Gela site. The field testing phase included the start-up of a pilot plant that treated up to 100 kg/day of organic municipal waste from the municipalities in the Ragusa area.
Some project highlights:
reduction in GHG emissions 2021 vs 2020
kton of biomass
processed in the biorefinery in 2021
annual processing capacity
reduction in atmospheric emissions (SO2, NOx, CO, dusts)
reduction in CO2 emissions
reduction in water withdrawals
reduction in water discharges
Eni Rewind is Eni’s environmental company that works according to the principles of the circular economy to enhance industrial areas, water and waste through efficient and sustainable reclamation projects. Remediation of the Gela site, included in the Site of National Interest of the same name, is carried out by Eni Rewind in charge of the remediation operations at the former Anic areas. The company also manages the environmental activities in the areas of Industria Siciliana Acido Solforico (ISAF) and works on behalf of RaGe, Versalis and EniMed. Activities, started with emergency securing works, envisage the reclamation and monitoring of the multicompany groundwater, soil reclamation and demolition of plants, sheds and buildings. Thanks to the commitment of Eni and Eni Rewind, Gela is now a virtuous example of environmental restoration and technological innovation aimed at creating development opportunities for the area.
Eni Rewind is experimenting innovative technologies developed in our research laboratories in the field for the reclamation and monitoring of soils and groundwater. These technologies include the e-hyrec® device for the selective removal of hydrocarbons from groundwater while saving water resources, passive sampling on low-density polyethylene sheets or the e-limina® method.
In Gela, Eni Rewind operates the groundwater treatment plant and the TAS plant, which treats wastewater from the multi-company site and leachate from the Timpazzo municipal landfill and landfills at the refinery. It also manages the urban biological (400 m3/h) and industrial biological (900 m3/h) plants, owned by the Sicily Region, for the purification of civil and industrial waste water in the area. In 2021, Eni's environmental company treated more than 7.5 million m³ of groundwater, recovering more than 930,000 m³.
In 2021, on behalf of the company RaGe, Eni completed the dismantling of the old, now decommissioned plants related to the refining process: the SNOX chimney, the G300 boiler, the Coking drill structures 1 and 2, and the D-D1 torch. The work required top-down dismantling in order to avoid interference with other plant operations and ensure the recovery of approximately 6,900 tonnes of scrap metal, motors and electrical cables that will be reused in the civil and industrial sectors. By 2023, the demolition of the G100 and G200 boilers, which is currently underway, will be completed and the demolition of the chimney and Snox plant will begin.
In the Gela area, we have been working for some time to develop renewable energy, as a strategic and fundamental element of the evolution of the business model towards a low carbon scenario. In fact, it is here that Eni Rewind implemented its first circular project with the installation, completed in 2012, of a 5 MW photovoltaic park on the permanent safety works at the former phosphogypsum landfill. In 2018, a new park of around 1 MW was set up by Eni New Energy in an area managed by Eni Rewind, called Island 10. This area formerly housed the ethylene oxide and derivatives production plant, now demolished. In 2019, collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of Boston and Milan Polytechnic, Eni’s first Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) mirror system was installed in the new Oil Centre in Gela We are currently working on a further design stage to integrate this technology into industrial environments as a decarbonisation lever, for subsequent large scale distribution. This stage is part of the SOLARGRID project, an initiative partly financed by MIUR to support industrial research and experimental development projects. It foresees the installation of a second innovative parabola together with thermal storage and a micro steam turbine that will interact with the existing New Oils Centre plant to produce electricity for self-consumption.
The feasibility study to assess a logistics base in Gela for LNG/CNG distribution has been completed. Subsequently, the agreement was signed between MiSE, the Sicily Region, the Municipal Administration in Gela and Eni to continue with a technical and commercial study phase to check the existence of the conditions for developing an industrial-scale LNG initiative.
Gela was identified as a hub for managing monitoring systems and equipment patented by Eni, the Clean Sea subsea environmental monitoring system used in the Mediterranean area, the Rapid Cube and the Dual ROV killing system, equipment that can be used worldwide to ensure the safe management of offshore wells.
In 2022, we completed the renovation works on the “ex Casa-albergo” building in the Macchitella district. Furthermore, in the Gela area, Eni pays attention to the local schools and, over the years, has run a number of projects supporting local students to disseminate the company’s values and competences in the field of the circular economy and environmental protection. As part of the Work experience programme, we have also engaged five local schools, delivering 40 hours of training on issues relating to green energy, the circular economy, cybersecurity and digitalisation. In 2021, via Eni Joule, 15 students of these schools, accompanied by students of a computing school in Caltagirone, took part in a 2-day business development event.
With the Municipality of Gela and the food-bank charities Fondazione Banco Alimentare and the Banco Alimentare della Sicilia ONLUS, we also signed a cooperation agreement to support food safety. The project involves our direct commitment to the restructuring and adaptable of the building made available by the Municipality of Gela to set up a local food bank in order to optimise and increase the collection of excess foodstuffs and distribute them to the people that most need them. In 2021, the engineering studies relating to the redevelopment and refurbishment of the building were completed, and the technical documentation was prepared for the tender.
Some highlights describing the integrated project:
hydrocarbon production in 2021
of whom 98% are resident in Sicily and 74% resident in the municipality of Gela
hours of training
delivered to Gela employees in 2021
expenditure on environmental activities in 2021
mgl ton CO2eq
reduction in GHG emissions 2021 vs 2020
of scrap recovered from the demolition of old, decommissioned refinery plants
Every year, we publish a comprehensive report on the activities carried out by the Eni companies at the Gela site and, in particular, to highlight the contribution to Eni’s Just Transition path. In particular, the 2021 Eni's Local Sustainability Report for Gela focusses on Europe’s most innovative biorefining plant and the many initiatives undertaken in the field of the circular economy and local redevelopment, which make the Gela site an authentic example of excellence. The document illustrates how respect for and protection of people and environmental resources are prerogatives for creating long-term value and achieving business objectives. Finally, significant focus is given to local stakeholders, who are engaged and enhanced through the many alliances and agreements signed.
The document forms part of Eni's sustainability reporting, which includes the 2021 Consolidated Disclosure of Non-Financial Information (NFI), drawn up in accordance with Italian Legislative Decree 254/2016 and Eni’s 2021 Sustainability Report, to which reference is made for further details.
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